Walnut Parsley Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Peas
Second week over at the fair, what day is it? Each day seems to be a blur and just when I think I’m getting into the groove there is something new to tackle. We didn’t expect the ice museum to fall below zero degrees, causing it to be like Antarctica for the workers manning the sculptures, or the power to go out because I had to many irons plugged in … irons? Yes, another part of my job is to facilitate ridiculous, crazy, silly food contests on stage. “Iron Man Cheese Challenge” requires many irons, bread, cheese and butter…you got it, grilled cheese made with an iron. When we are preparing for these contests the question is always, “but is it cheesy enough?” Trust me when I tell you that making a fool of yourself and laughing hysterically all the while is a lost art that we are trying to bring back at the Orange County Fair.
I also had the pleasure this week of meeting some fellow “foodies” that we had invited to be a part of the fair. Ciao Florentina took the stage and prepared some quick and easy tiramisu (so happy she left a few behind in my fridge) and Average Betty dazzled the audience with “Jalapeno Popper Pizza”. Chef Rachel Marie of Black Market Bakery demonstrated confections- Incredible Almond Brittle made with grape seed oil and marshmallows. And it was a delight to sit and chat with Chef Debbi Dubbs from Deb’s kitchen who tossed a Gazpacho Cous Cous salad with incredible herbs from her garden. As for me? I used the herbs from our Artful Fair garden and chopped up a Walnut Parsley Pesto. My focus has been to encourage fair goers to get back into their kitchen and cook with fresh natural ingredients. Pesto is such a scrumptious summer sauce- nutritious, vibrant, full of flavor and can be made within minutes. A quick blending of walnuts, parsley, basil, Parmesan, garlic, lemon, and olive oil. One sauce, two meals; whole wheat flat bread pizzas with buffalo mozzarella and fresh cherry tomatoes and an ever so tasty and fresh pasta salad with peas, sun dried tomatoes, and a sprinkle of crispy bacon. The creaminess of the peas paired with the garlic, Parmesan and fresh herbs- you won’t be able to put this down. This is a summer side dish that can stand on it’s own.
Sun dried Tomato and Pea Pasta with Walnut Pesto Serves 4-6 as a side dish 2 Tablespoons kosher salt 8 oz small shell pasta 1 cup frozen petite green peas- rinsed and defrosted ¼ cup cooked bacon- crispy and roughly chopped ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes – re hydrated and roughly chopped 2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts 2 Tablespoons red onion- finely diced 1 cup walnut parsley pesto Pinch pepper Parmesan cheese Basil
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in 2 tablespoons of kosher salt • Cook pasta according to package directions- aldente • Drain and cool slightly- fold in ½ cup of pesto while warm • Once cooled fold in an additional ½ cup pesto, peas, bacon, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, onion, and pepper • Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and basil
Artful Fair Herb Garden
Walnut Parsley Pesto 1 Cup walnuts- toasted 4 large garlic cloves Zest 1 lemon 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice ¼ teaspoon red pepper flake 1 ½ packed cups of flat leaf Italian parsley- packed 1 ½ packed basil leaves- packed 1 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese- lightly filled 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
• Process walnuts, garlic, zest, lemon juice, red pepper flake, parsley, basil, cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor until well blended- like coarse sand • Stream in olive oil while running food processor Adjust seasoning